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2017.3.1 BF Berkowitz(Photo: Brook Ward)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, was recently voted by his teammates the prestigious Len Eshmont Award for inspiration and courage. This contradicts previously held assumptions that his protest against racial injustice in America caused irredeemable discord or rancor among his fellow players. While not every player or coach on the team may have agreed with Kaepernick's kneeling down for the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before every game, they apparently agreed that what he did took courage, conviction, and a commitment to social justice that is rare among the modern-day athlete.

The Eshmont Award, is given to the teammate who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team," according to the team website.

 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith discussed some of the criticism Kaepernick has received, saying: "Colin has handled that situation better than anyone could have imagined. It hasn't been a distraction in our locker room, and it probably helped him open up to a lot of our team and our teammates better. He's been very open in communication about that as well as football."

2017.3.1 BF Buchheit(Photo: YorkshirePhotoWalks)PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In October, 1957 the U.S. suffered a blow to its pride when Russia's Sputnik soared 500 miles into space. The response from the White House was to call it "a useless hunk of iron" and "a silly bauble in the sky." But for the first time American Cold War superiority came into question. David Halberstam called Sputnik’s success "a kind of technological Pearl Harbor." All America was stirred up, determined to fight back, especially after Sputnik II, a month later, sent a dog into space. In a hurried effort to catch up, America fired off the Vanguard in December 1957, but after a journey of several feet it sputtered and blew up. Russia's Premier Khrushchev mocked us, saying "the sputniks are lonely...waiting for American satellites to join them in space." Americans mocked themselves, calling our first rocket the Flopnik.

In an important sense the failure was good for America, for in addition to humbling us it opened the floodgates to increased science funding in higher education. We weren't runners-up for long. In February of 1958 the American Explorer I satellite took us into space.

2016.29.12 BF Zukowski(Photo: Bureau of Land Management)DAN ZUKOWSKI OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

There's still time to support independent journalism before the end of the year. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Truthout and BuzzFlash. Ensure real news survives in 2017!

President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect two large areas in the western U.S. The new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah preserves 1.35 million acres containing 100,000 significant Native American sites, while the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada sets aside 300,000 acres, also home to Indigenous archeological sites.

Protection for both of these sites has been supported by Native American tribes. Looting and desecration of artifacts has been common in these areas.

"The rock art, ancient dwellings and ceremonial sites concealed within these breathtaking landscapes help tell the story of people who have stewarded these lands for hundreds of generations,"said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "Today's action builds on an extraordinary effort from tribes, local communities and members of Congress to ensure that these treasures are protected for generations to come, so that tribes may continue to use and care for these lands, and all may have an opportunity to enjoy their beauty and learn from their rich cultural history."

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016december economicinjustice copy2The canyon of economic injustice is widening. (David Shankbone)

Throughout the ups and downs of 2016, Truthout and BuzzFlash have been there to bring you reliable news and analysis. Click here to support us with a donation before the year ends!

As 2017 approaches, a recent study indicates that the income gap in the US is growing. According to a December 22 CNNMoney article,

The gap between the "haves" and "have nots" is widening, according to the latest data out this week.

The rich are money-making machines. Today, the top mega wealthy -- the top 1% -- earn an average of $1.3 million a year. It's more than three times as much as the 1980s, when the rich "only" made $428,000, on average, according to economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% of the American population earned an average of $16,000 in pre-tax income in 1980. That hasn't changed in over three decades.

In the past decade, there has only been a brief period when the chasm narrowed, the report indicates:

Around 2009 and 2010, inequality narrowed slightly because the rich had lost a lot of wealth.

But since then, inequality has grown and is on track to widen further. The wealthy have recovered far faster as the stock market has surged over 230% since bottoming out in March 2009 and property values have shot back up to pre-recession levels.

2016.29.12 BF Chow(Photo: Gage Skidmore)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

Throughout the ups and downs of 2016, Truthout and BuzzFlash have been there to bring you reliable news and analysis. Click here to support us with a donation before the year ends!

Scott Pruitt -- Donald Trump's controversial pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- is under fire for his supposed ties to a nonprofit controlled by billionaire oil tycoons, Charles and David Koch.

POLITICO has received a copy of a letter sent to Pruitt that was signed by six Democratic senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee. The letter raises questions about the Oklahoma attorney general's director status at a nonprofit called the Rule of Law Defense Fund that accepted $175,000 from Freedom Partners, the political arm of the Koch brothers' network.

Freedom Partners has been described as a "dark money umbrella group," likened to a secret bank that disburses contributions from wealthy conservatives.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

There's still time to support independent journalism before the end of the year. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Truthout and BuzzFlash. Ensure real news survives in 2017!

WalkerDurr 1228wrp(Photo: Michael Vadon)Whoever is managing Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources website must be wearing out the delete key. The word "climate" has been quietly stripped from the department's webpage dedicated to explaining the state's response to climate change, Raw Story reported.

In total, 13 original appearances of the word "climate" have been kiboshed. The only place you'll see the word now is in the "climatechange.html" URL and a tiny footnote link. Not only that, any reference to humanity's contribution to global warming has been deleted.

The text that appears on the webpage now inserts classic climate skeptic arguments, in which Earth's "changes" are being "debated." This is the text on the website as of today:

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

There's still time to support independent journalism before the end of the year. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Truthout and BuzzFlash. Ensure real news survives in 2017!

TheSun 1228wrp opt(Photo: Jessie Eastland)Renewable energy has reached an important milestone. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has determined that in many parts of the world, solar energy is now the same price or even cheaper than fossil fuels for the first time.

In a handbook released this month, the WEF observed how the price of renewable technologies, particularly solar, has declined to unprecedented lows.

While the average global LCOE [levelized cost of electricity] for coal and natural gas is around $100 per megawatt-hour, the price for solar has plummeted from $600 a decade ago to $300 only five years later, and now close to or below $100 for utility-scale photovoltaic. For wind, the LCOE is around $50.

According to the WEF, more than 30 countries have already reached grid parity—even without subsidies. ("Grid parity" is the point when an alternative energy source, say solar, can generate power at a LCOE that's equal or even less than the price of traditional grid power.)

"It is relevant to note that the mentioned evolution, market share gain and continued potential for renewable energy do not hinge on a subsidy advantage," the report added. "In fact, according to [International Energy Agency], fossil-fuel consumption has received $493 billion in subsidies in 2014, more than four times the value of subsidies to renewable energy."

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

2016silenceTrumpism demands activism, not silence. (Photo: Jemma D )

There's still time to support independent journalism before the end of the year. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to Truthout and BuzzFlash. Ensure real news survives in 2017!

The election of Donald Trump has seen the religious right gearing up to fight against abortion rights, defund Planned Parenthood, target transsexual rights, and re-litigate same sex marriage; economic conservatives dusting off plans to eliminate as many government regulations (and possibly departments) as possible, support school choice, the privatization of social security, Medicare, and craft a new tax code; and white supremacists and nationalists –operating under the media-friendly banner of the “alt-right” -- are looking to mainstream their anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic vision of a white America, and broaden their constituency.

As reports of hate incidents and harassment soar, people are responding: Petitions are being circulated; websites are setting up mechanisms for reporting incidents of hate; demonstrations are being held in cities across the country; and, fight-back organizations are crafting plans and soliciting donations.

So how best to cope with and combat what many see as a coming maelstrom of hate attacks?

Information is key to any struggle. Naming the attackers, decoding their messages, and speaking out against hate groups, and incidents of hate and harassment is essential, and, finally, taking the long view regarding political engagement is crucial.

2016.22.12 BF Chow(Photo: United Nations Photo)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

If everything goes to plan, New York City and Long Island will be harnessing the Atlantic Ocean's strong and dependable winds as a source of renewable energy.

Norway's biggest oil company will be developing an offshore wind farm outside of New York. Statoil submitted the winning bid of $42.5 million to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last Friday to lease nearly 80,000 acres of federal waters roughly 14 miles off the coast of Long Island, the Huffington Post reported.

The company estimates that the leased area could host a 1,000-megawatt offshore wind farm, with the first phase of development expected to begin with 400 to 600 megawatts. The first plan of action is to survey seabed conditions which can be as deep as 131 feet, grid connection options and wind resources at the site.

Thursday, 22 December 2016 06:52

​I Pledge Allegiance to What?​

2016.22.12 BF Koehler(Photo: Charles Salutan)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

I pledge allegiance to . . . what?

The Electoral College, to no one's serious surprise, voted Donald Trump in as the nation's 45th president, and the pot of outrage in the American spectator democracy begins to boil.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no -- no to all his right-wing and idiotic cabinet and Team Trump appointments, no to his conflicts of interest and serial tweets, no to his sexism, his reckless arrogance, his ego, his finger on the nuclear button.

The word of the day is resistance. For instance, Nancy Altman and Ira Lupu, writing at Huffington Post, point out that Trump, though legally the new American president, lacks political legitimacy, thanks to widespread voter suppression, his huge loss in the popular vote and the anachronistic absurdity of the Electoral College; and even more disturbingly, is a thin-skinned, dishonest, immature jerk, utterly lacking the moral authority a national leader must project. These are flaws that cannot be ignored.

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